The other weekend, we were visiting family and did our annual pilgrimage to the beach.
And, like every year before, Nat didn’t complain as he dragged our children and gear to the ocean.
Following up the rear, I looked at this common sight and thought, “I wonder if Nat ever wants to write a first-person essay about how tired he is of always being the one in our relationship to lug our shit?”
Dad are modern-day Sherpas. So many times, I’ve been amazed at how much he carries of our stuff without complaint or even mentioning it. In airports, I’ve seen him carry a giant back-pack, a smaller back pack on his front, a diaper bag, a heavy baby in a car seat, all while holding Sam’s hand. (I usually have my purse and a rollie.) And yet, he never grumbles or says, “Dorothy, can you carry another bag, please?” Instead, he just opens up the trunk and starts loading up.
On this trip, we also went out to an island in the Rehoboth bay to celebrate my brother’s 45th birthday. And when we got to shore, we had to walk some in the water with our gear. Yet again, Nat got off the boat and helped with the kids first, then me, and then came back to the boat to unload the stuff. In fact, most of the men who were already on the island waded out to help grab stuff. The women stayed put.
It’s something primal in men, I think. This feeling of being the person to haul stuff. And although this isn’t something new, I am always amazed at how they do it without complaining. Meanwhile, if I have to sweep the kitchen floor YET AGAIN, I want to write a 400 word essay about my despair regarding defined gender-roles.
I consider my marriage to be pretty progressive (I make more money and handle our finances; Nat does a bigger percentage of the parenting and cooking), but if there is a mouse in the kitchen, I immediately withdraw my Feminist card and hand my man a mouse trap.
I don’t know the point of writing this, to be honest. I just feel like sometimes Dads don’t get enough credit. They operate a lot behind the scenes; they do things that help women out without us even noticing; they do them without expecting praise. We give props to the dads who get up for feedings or for loading the dishwasher or for attempting to do the household things women historically have done. But they also do things they’ve always taken on and because they carry on that tradition, we hardly even notice.
I guess I think a lot of what women can do to help this slow march towards equality is recognize and realize how much our men help us, both in new ways and old. Because we need to give credit where credit is due.
So, without further ado: Thank you for lugging our shit, honey. I see you there, with several bags around your shoulders, packing the trunk, with a little sweat around your forehead, doing the tasks the men of your family have always done.
I see you, and I thank you.